I wanted to add a bonus message to our “Jesus Is” series this morning. Next week we get back on schedule and launch a new series on that enigmatic “shrouded in mystery” person called the “Holy Spirit.” Today, however, I want us to be fully aware of another fascinating aspect of Jesus’ being. Listen to the following:
1 Corinthians 8:6 There is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.
Philippians 2:9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Revelation 19:6 On his robe and thigh is written the title, KING OF KINGS, LORD OF LORDS.
In these select passages we see a repeated three-word phrase that is simultaneously comforting and challenging, “Jesus is Lord.” “Jesus is Lord” is comforting because it reassures us that he can “kick butt and take names” of those who are hostile to God, his people, and his creation. On the other hand, “Jesus is Lord” is challenging because this reality calls for a mammoth transformation to our lives. Before we deep dive into that, let’s take a quick survey. How many of you love that Jesus is the Divine Creator which means we are not just a bunch of randomized chemicals that evolved from a chemical soup? How many are glad that Jesus is the perfect human? That if anyone could live a sinless, flawless life it would be Him? How about that He is the “Solitary Savior” who lovingly laid down His life for us and now that He is our “Great High Priest” has opened up heaven for us and prays every second for us? But Jesus isn’t JUST these things. He’s more. He is also Lord.
Concept of Lord
In the ancient world the title “Lord” (Greek: “kurios”) was used in a variety of ways: (1) As a polite address, similar to the way we use “Mr.” and “Ms.” (2) A show of respect; “Yes Sir” or “Yes Ma’am.” (3) For people who owned slaves. This is lord as master. (4) As an honorific title for religious and political leaders. (5) A title for deity especially the emperor. He was thought to be the “Supreme Dominus,” or “Kasier Kurious” (Caesar is Lord).
Lordship of Jesus
Throughout his earthly ministry Jesus, as a Jewish rabbi (rabboni), was called lord in many of the ways we just described: as a polite address, show of respect, and religious leader. However, after His resurrection everything changed. The disciples began calling him Lord, in the sense of ultimate divine authority. Doubting Thomas was one of the first to do this. Meeting Him for the first time after His resurrection, he called Jesus, “My Lord and My God” (Matthew 20:28). Jesus was always Lord, even before His incarnation, however, His resurrection confirmed His Lordship over all things, even death itself. From then He was commonly called, “Jesus Kurios” the ultimate Lord. Another example is from Paul in Romans 10:9,
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,”
and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
This passage is known as a “declaration” which one had to make before being water baptized. It was not a ceremonial recitation but a swearing of ultimate allegiance, not to Caesar (defying his lordship), your family, or even yourself but to Jesus Christ. And you genuinely had to mean it because water baptism wasn’t a quaint religious ceremony done in the comfy confines of a church sanctuary. It was a public spectacle and act of public disobedience with the enemies of the Cross/Church in attendance. So you had better believe “with all of your heart” that Jesus is Lord because you were betting your physical life on it!
A Strange Dichotomy
Who loves being told what to do? Thanks to the first angel Lucifer and the first man Adam, rebellion is in our spiritual DNA. We naturally don’t want anyone telling us what to do, not God, government, or anybody else. Antiauthoritarianism is the virus that has infected our souls and the super spreader is our thoroughly democratized culture (no mask can stop it). This is why Ephesians 2:2 calls us “Children of disobedience” (“no” is a two-year old’s favorite word). We want to be our own bosses or “a law unto ourselves.” However, following Christ is not like going to Burger King and “having it your way.” When I want to have my life my way or be my own lord, I quickly preach to myself the “Must, Trust, or Bust” of Jesus’ Lordship.
His Lordship is a Must
Jesus’ Lordship is a must. Listen to Acts 2:36, I Peter 3:15, and Colossians 2:6,
Therefore, let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus,
whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.
Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him.
In the church we need to get away from the false dichotomy, “Jesus is my Savior, Lord, not so much.” Simply put, Jesus is Lord of all that we are and all that we have, or He is not our Savior. Jesus as Savior/Lord is a package deal, two sides of the same coin. It’s not either/or but both/and with Him. It’s a must if we want the best life possible in this world and in the one to come.
His Lordship is a Trust
You say, “OK, Jesus’ lordship is a must but how can I trust He will do a better job directing my life than I can?” Despite the abusive historical examples associated with earthly lordship (e.g., aristocracies, slaveries, ruling tyrants, dictators, caste systems, etc.,) Jesus was clear that his lordship was diametrically different. When the disciples were jockeying for high positions in the “kingdom to come,” Jesus responded that He’d never use His power and authority to dominate people, but to love and serve them (Mark 10:42). In Matthew 11:28-30 we see more of what His lordship is all about:
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Jesus is the kind of Lord who takes delight in serving us and seeking our joy. This is why David begins the “Great Shepherd Psalm” with (23:1) “The Lord is my shepherd, I will not lack for anything” and Psalm 27:1, “The Lord is my light and salvation, the Lord is the strength of my life.” Fact is, everyone is being “lorded over” by something, i.e., passions, possessions, pleasures, or even self, but none of these come remotely close to the good and gracious Lordship of Jesus Christ. We can trust that He will always do His best for us.
His Lordship Or Bust
Jesus’ lordship is a must we can trust because if we don’t we will bust. I mean bust in two ways. Firstly, I can regale you with a plethora of times when I had to help people sift through the wreckage of their busted lives. Why? Because they would rather live Frank Sinatra’s, “I did it my way” rather than Jesus’ way. I never say it, but maybe I should, “How’d that work out for you?”
The second bust is futuristic and applies to that group that wants Jesus as Savior/Rescuer but not as Lord. Pay close attention to Jesus’ warning in Matthew 7:21,
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
When Jesus was on earth He had a lord and that Lord was His Father in heaven. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked His Father if He could avoid the Cross and still save humanity. His Father said, “No” which prompted Jesus to say, “Nevertheless, not my will but your will be done” (Luke 22:44). Pray this prayer every day so that you are not busted for eternity.
Jesus is Lord and we will have to eventually surrender to Him one way or the other (every knee SHALL bow). If you have yet to surrender your life to Him do so now and you will never be the same.